Exploring SAP Data Migration: Transitioning from LSMW to Migration Cockpit and Beyond

Many businesses are turning to SAP as it offers a powerful, feature-rich platform that enables them to operate more efficiently, reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction. Among all the benefits, data migration holds a substantial position. The process of moving data from legacy systems to SAP is vital for businesses to effectively utilize the benefits of SAP. However, with the shift towards cloud computing and SAP S/4 HANA, traditional methods such as LSMW (Legacy System Migration Workbench) are insufficient compared to the flexibility of the new technologies.

What is LSMW?

LSMW or “Legacy System Migration Workbench” is a tool consisting of Master/Transaction data, that is used in SAP ERP systems supporting single or periodic data transfer from external systems to a SAP system. It offers multiple options allowing the importation of legacy data from spreadsheet tables or sequential files, the conversion of the data to the target SAP format, and the importation of converted data using the interfaces of SAP. 

Transition to Migration Cockpit (MC)

However, with the release of SAP S/4HANA, the performance of LSMW has been limited. Instead, SAP S/4HANA Migration Cockpit(MC), which makes use of migration objects to identify and transfer the data from SAP or Non SAP systems to SAP S/4HANA, has been brought in. A migration object defines how to transfer data to SAP S/4HANA for a particular business object. SAP supports predefined migration objects that can be used for the transfer of the relevant data. The key factors of the Migration Cockpit (MC) can be summarized as follows:

  • The automated process of data migration, so does not require any programming skills from the customer side.
  • The much easier process to upload data to the system through a user-friendly navigation.
  • Ease in filling the relevant data with the availability of many predefined templates for each object
  • Embedded and delivered with SAP S/4HANA system

The Migration Cockpit in SAP S/4HANA currently utilizes the following approaches for migration:

Data Transfer via Files (XML templates):

This approach involves transferring data from both SAP and non-SAP source systems. It is suitable for handling small to medium volumes of data. Customers are responsible for filling in XML templates during the data provisioning process.

Data Transfer via Staging Tables:

With this approach, data can be transferred from SAP and non-SAP source systems and is particularly useful for loading large volumes of data. Customers are required to populate staging tables using tools like SAP Data Services or SAP HANA Studio.

Direct Data Transfer from SAP Systems (introduced in SAP S/4HANA 1909):

This approach enables the transfer of data from ABAP-based source systems and is applicable for loading data regardless of volume. Data is directly selected and extracted from the SAP system.

Comparison of Migration Cockpit (MC) and LSMW

Migration Cockpit (MC)



User-friendly interface

Flexible and powerful toolset for customization

Pre-built templates and migration objects

Allows recording or manual development of programs

Simplifies mapping and transformation

Works with various SAP ERP versions


Limited to SAP S/4HANA migration

Requires technical expertise and programming skills

 Relatively newer tool in the market

Complexity may increase for advanced scenarios

Steeper learning curve for beginners

Enhancing Migration Capabilities with LTMOM

However, in some cases, a standard template of any migration object can not meet your business needs or you need to add custom fields to a standard migration object or you need to create new migration objects. In these scenarios, Migration Cockpit (MC) is inadequate, so LTMOM (Migration Object Modeler) comes into play here. By leveraging LTMOM, you can enhance the migration capabilities beyond what Migration Cockpit (MC) offers, enabling a more comprehensive and tailored approach to data migration. It empowers you to maintain data integrity and accuracy while efficiently transferring data into SAP S/4HANA.

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